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Christmas Wrapping 

Locals share their holiday memories; the latest on Frederick's Music Lounge's sartorial swag and for-sale signs

While the rampant sales and rock-bottom deals might convince people that the holidays are all about credit-card debt, the holiday season is actually built on stories and memories. In the spirit of the season, A to Z asked movers and shakers around town to share what events and stories made their holidays memorable then — and now.

"Well, my Christmas story has more to do with a Christmas object than the holiday itself. It all happened in July of '89. One afternoon I was doing some work in the basement and while walking around, I tripped and fell on the artificial Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the stand was still affixed to the tree and I impaled my hand through the stand while trying to break my fall. Eighteen stitches, loss of feeling in my thumb and one heck of a nasty scar, still to this day. Now every year when I help my parents bring up the tree from the basement, my dad still doesn't allow me to carry the end with the stand."
— Jay Mumma, booking agent, Cicero's

"In 1997 my band Jerkwater Junction played an all-ages Christmas show at a VFW hall in tiny St. Peter (near Salem, Illinois). We played our drunken twang-pop after no less than four Rage Against the Korn Bizkit-type bands had sludged through their sets. Feeling a bit feisty, I said, 'We'd like to thank Megadeth and Slayer for opening the show.' Well, a tall, long-haired frontman from one of the bands angrily rushed up to the mic and replied, 'It's such an honor to open for Johnny fuckin' Cash!' He probably didn't know I was flattered."
— Corey Saathoff, vocalist-guitarist, Brain Regiment

"Having the RFT document my first date with my future wife, Maggie Allison (of Barefoot Jones)! In spring 2005 the Travoltas released Local STD, and Mike Seely was kind enough to offer us some RFT ink. Coincidentally, both Seely and I had tix to Elvis Costello on May 4, but Costello rescheduled, so we did the RFT interview that night instead — which, serendipitously, was also the night of my first date with Ms. Allison. Seely was so taken by her that he had to include her (and our first date) in the article. On the evening of November 18, atop the St. Louis Arch, I humbly proposed marriage to her — and she actually accepted!!! Thanks, Mike!"
— John Clements, guitarist, Trailer Park Travoltas

"A lot of my favorite memories revolve around the old Cicero's/Way Out Club Christmas pageants. Freddy Friction playing evil Santa in leather with a whip, Mark Stephens as a Man With No Name-style gunfighter, the girls from Ouija as foul-mouthed gun-toting elves. Bunnygrunt getting mowed down in a haze of gunfire yet still promoting their Xmas release. Steve Pick as Debbie Gibson. Two weeks to rehearse a show and three days to build a set. Good times. I got to play Santa a couple of times too — once as a zombie! We should do that again."
— Jamie Foehner, booking agent/doorman, Lemmons

"December 30, 1993. While helping my aunt move into an apartment in LA, her friend gave me free tickets to that night's Nirvana show at the Forum. Nirvana has been my favorite band of all-time. My mom wouldn't let me go, so I gave the tickets back. Instead, I spent that night 'assembling' a model car. Every critique I've ever read of that night's show said it was unforgettable."
— Geoff Koch, singer-songwriter

"On December 16, 2000, I passed on three holiday party invitations to attend a concert, creating slight animosity rather than forgiving holiday goodwill with my friends. The show was Oliver Sain's '50 Years of Music' tribute and onstage that evening with Sain were musical giants Little Milton, Ike Turner, Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Johnson. The show was amazing and five short years later, only one of the above men is still with us (Ike Turner); the memories are even more cherished."

— Jim Utz, Vintage Vinyl promotions manager

It appears that Tony La Russa was so inspired by the tour diary excerpts Randall Roberts managed to obtain ("La Russa Palooza," December 8) that he decided to keep up his nascent rock blog. Surf to to see what Tony's rocking out to during the offseason.

Just in time for the holidays, Frederick's Music Lounge has T-shirts for sale. Featuring the venue's infamous naughty-girl logo and slogan on the back ("Good girls don't go to Frederick's"), the duds will set you back only ten bucks. Oddly enough, this is the first time Fred's has ever sold shirts — as Fred Friction puts it, they just "never got around to it" until now. The sartorial wheels were thrown into motion thanks to a regular patron, who borrowed the Fred's logo off the wall and returned a few days later with a boxful of shirts.

Speaking of "for sale," many Fred's fans have taken note of the signs in the property's yard. Yes, indeedy: The lounge and attached house are on the market, priced at $280,000.

Members of his family own the property together, explains Friction. (After his dad, Fred Boettcher Sr., died five years ago, his six kids inherited the property, which Boettcher Sr. had purchased in 1975.) "They're interested in selling. Whether the business remains or not, remains to be seen."

For the time being, he assures, "We're running just as usual."

Shows are scheduled well into the new year; highlights include Tommy Womack (January 6) and the return of Chris Mills (January 13).

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April 14, 2021

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